Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hello! My name is Meredith McClaren. I draw comic books such as HINGES, HEART IN A BOX, and REAL SCIENCE ADVENTURES.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
A lot of what I do is fantasy, but there usually based in a real feeling I am grappling with at the time of its production. HINGES deals with the growing pains that comes with change. HEART IN A BOX (written by Kelly Thompson) deals with the difficulty in trying to earnestly undo a bad decision. REAL SCIENCE ADVENTURES (written by Scott Wegener and Brian Clevinger) is all about trying to redeem yourself.
There are are real world feelings in every book I do, that I hope connects to the audience and helps guide them through their own lives.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Oh gosh. Anything. But a lot of what I do is driven by whatever I’m struggling with, and trying to channel it into a story that can help me process.
How do you deal with creative block?
Walks. Long walks. They help a lot.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
They hurt real real bad. And I’d be lying if I said that eventually you forget about them. The really awful ones haunt you for years.
But I have things to do. I keep a busy schedule. I can’t afford to sit and ruminate over a bad review. I’ve got to get to work.
How has your creation process improved over time?
It actually ebbs and flows.
With each new project I find myself changing my processes, or trying to do something new. By the time I get in the grove with one, a project is usually near to over. But with each new process tried, I gain an new tool to tackle the next challenge.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
I’m a freelancer, so a lot of my time is spent doing the admin work that needs to keep the overall machine working. That’s the most surprising aspect.
The worst is probably that with all long form comic work, there is a moment where you are convinced it’s trash because you’ve lost all objectivity, and you’re not getting and positive feedback because no one can look at it yet. That’s the toughest phase to work through.
The best part is definitely the moment when a project is done. No matter how big or small, each project seems insurmountable at the onset. But you chip away at it little by little and then one day you sit back and you have a finished story.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I changes from project to project. Some projects are purely an expression of what I’m working through, and if they find an audience then that’s great. Other projects I am very very aware that I want the story to be a gift from myself to the audience.
I don’t know how to balance them yet.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
Like I said earlier, a lot of my books come from trying to work through my own feelings. Whatever I’m going through or struggling with informs where I go creatively.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Walk a lot. Seriously. It’s scientifically proven to help you think through things.
What are your plans for future books?
I’m sort of pulling myself in two directions. I’d like to reach a larger audience and am aiming for books that are more all ages. But I’m also on a dark horror kick. I haven’t figured out how to reconcile the two yet.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I foster kittens when I can. And I love making caramels.